Years ago, we were going to a new church. When it came time to head home one evening, we could not find our 22-month-old son. He had been with us just a few moments earlier, but as they were turning off the lights and closing up the building, Zach was nowhere to be found. This was new turf for him. He didn't know his way around. We didn't know his favorite places in the building. All the lights, except a few in the foyer, were off.
Donna and I were frantic!
What if he made it to the street with it already dark outside with busy streets on both sides?
Where could he be?
How had he gotten away so quickly?
Why wasn't he crying if the lights had been turned off on him?
I went out and began a search of the parking lot and the street. Donna began a search through all the classrooms in the children's wing. She found him in his Sunday morning classroom with the lights off. A window was let the light from the parking lot filter through the vertical blinds on the window.
Zach was perfectly happy playing with a few toys in near-total darkness as he talked and sang unaware of his crazed parents looking for him. He didn't feel alone in that room because it is where he had been taught to talk to God in prayer and talk about God loving little children. This Bible class room was home for him. How could be alone or afraid in a family place? We had telescoped our fear for our lost son into a moment we expected him to be frantic because he was alone. We had placed our adult fears for being alone, onto him.
Most of us know the terror of a child being momentarily lost, or of being left alone as a child. Adults who are left alone and left behind collide with even deeper pain. Think of these jarring adult realities:
- Left at the altar.
- Left alone in ER after a beloved one dies.
- Left alone to pay the bills after a business partner has stolen funds.
- Left by a rebellious child who has run away from home determined to leave behind all the values a parent holds dear.
- Abandoned by a parent who left you alone as child so they could have a fresh start on life.
- Left alone after having been served divorce papers by an officer of the court, surprised, devastated, and in shock.
Jesus' disciples were about to be left behind by their Lord. So Jesus shared with them some of the most beautiful and comforting words ever recorded:
[Jesus said,] "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3)>.
As beautiful as these words can be in times of death, our question remains: "What do we do when we feel alone today?"
Jesus' words of comfort didn't stop with the promise that he is preparing a place for us with the Father and coming back to take us home with him later. Jesus makes the following promises based upon the Holy Spirit's coming to us and living in us, NOW:
- "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you" (John 14:18).
- "I too will love [you] and show myself to [you]" (John 14:21).
- "My Father will love [you], and we will come to [you] and make our home with [you]" (John 14:23).
- "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26).
Because of the Holy Spirit within us, Jesus reminds us that we will never be alone. The Spirit will live in us and make our heart the home for "all the fullness of God" living within us (Ephesians 3:16-19). We are never abandoned, forgotten, or on our own. God is not only near, he is also present within us. Until the Father is ready for us to come home to him, He chooses to make his home in each of us! We are never left behind. The Spirit is always there with us, within us, to do God's work and bring God's blessings to us! (For a list of some of the things the Spirit does for us, with us, and through us, see the list at the end of this article.)
Several months ago, I walked out into a field from my truck on a cold, dark, crisp morning two hours before the sun came up. There were no clouds in the sky. It was a new moon so there was no moonlight. The first two hundred yards of my half-mile hike was a bit treacherous, so I used a green light to walk carefully yet not scare the wildlife. Once on an old ranch trail, I turned off the green light and my eyes began to adjust. After walking another four hundred yards, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness.I looked up into the inky darkness of the moonless sky and was stunned into reverence.
The sky was not dark at all. The deepest "darkness" was still a dull, faint glow as billions, and billions of stars merged into the night background. When my eyes focused on a few clusters of stars, their background became dark, the stars appeared everywhere — all sorts of brightnesses. They were everywhere, twinkling in their dazzling array like diamonds scattered across black velvet with each facet reflecting bits of light.
I had to stop. The Holy Spirit immediately called up the words of Psalm 8:1-5, and I uttered them instinctively and out loud — not once or twice, but three or four times, rhythmically repeating them without regard to scaring off the wildlife.
As we look at all the Holy Spirit does for us while indwelling us, we cannot help but be awestruck. Like the shimmering stars in the darkest night sky, there are layers upon layers and grace upon grace to the Spirit's work in us, for us, and through us.
What follows is a bit of a visual reminder of SOME of the things the Spirit does for us followed by a list of SOME of the work of the Spirit. Space does not allow me to list them all. I am not wise enough to discern them all. Suffice it to say; we are left to praise and give thanks for Jesus, who loved us so much he was willing to die for us. Then, he loved us so much as our resurrected Lord that he sent the Spirit to live within us. The Spirit's abiding presence ensures that we are never alone and that we will one day see the Father face-to-face in the place Jesus has prepared for us.
Some of the Work
Indwelling Holy Spirit in Our Lives Today!
The Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts not only when we are born of God, but also continually fills and empowers us (Titus 3:3-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:8).
The gift and presence of the Holy Spirit is something only Jesus' disciples have and something the world cannot have (John 14:15-18; 1 Corinthians 2:12).
Cleanses, washes, and makes us right with God (sanctifies us) (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Indwells in us and makes us God's holy temple (Acts 2:28-39; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
Pours God's love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).
Fills us when we worship (Ephesians 5:15-21).
Gives us spiritual gifts to use to bless the Body and honor the Father (1 Corinthians 12:).
Helps us cry Abba Father and testifies that we are children of God (Romans 8:14-17).
Strengthens with power in our inner being with the same strength used to raise Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 1:17-20).
Empowers us to put to death sin in our flesh (Romans 8:13).
Make known and guide us into the truth about Jesus (John 16:12-15).
Inspires joy in us (Acts 13:52; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6).
Teach us and help us remember and know the truth about Jesus and what Jesus said (John 14:25-26; 1 John 2:20-27).
Be able to discern truth from what is false (John 14; 1 John 2:26-27; 1 John 5:).
Give us reassurance (1 John 2; John 15).
Intercedes for us in sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26).
Intercedes for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
Helps us have spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 2:10-15; 12:10).
Give us 24-7 always-on instant access to God (Ephesians 2:18).
Convict the world of sin and judgment (John 16:8-11).
Help us confess Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3).
Give us words to say when we are faced with threats, uncertainty, and persecution (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12).
We are led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18, 25; Romans 8:14).
Gives life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11).
Is our guarantee of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13).
Help us to witness and testify about Jesus (John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8; Acts 5:32; 1 John 5:7-8).
Brings forth the fruit that shows the character and compassion of God (Galatians 5:22-23).
Transforms us little by little to become like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
When I look at this list — realizing that there are many more things that the Spirit does that I never realize — I am humbled. I am thankful. I know I am never alone!